Offerings: Bobby Puleo

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Mirror Self Portrait by Bobby Puleo / Interview by Jacob Sawyer
Mirror Self Portrait by Bobby Puleo / Interview by Jacob Sawyer

 
When the idea for this format of interview emerged, Bobby Puleo was one of the first people I thought of. We have talked previously about his artwork in an interview for Slam, but this is a space for other insights and I knew he’d have some interesting choices. There has always been a lot more going on in his world beyond his illustrious career as a skateboarder, making him a perfect candidate.

Bobby is someone so immersed in, and fascinated by our culture, it has naturally led him into a role of further exploring, preserving and romanticising the history of skateboarding for all of us. Every time his collaborations with Same Old crop up it is exciting because you know you’re going to find out something new which is exactly how I felt going into this. When Bobby finally came back to us with a window to talk and his choices, I instantly knew that a good conversation was on the cards. We weren’t disappointed…

 

Southwest Regional Championships - Houston, Texas (1986)

Southwest Regional Championships – Houston, Texas (1986)

 

What’s the story with this, was this your first video?

Yeah I want to say I either bought it at SoHo Skates, which was on Varick Street in Lower Manhattan, or the Clifton Speed Center, which was the local shop by me. It’s funny, I heard later from Eli [Morgan Gesner] that SoHo Skates was basically a weed front. It was a legit skate shop but their main export was weed. I think that shop had something to do with Ian Frahm as well. Ian rode for, and was pro for Skull Skates. He was heavily featured in Action East-Along the Eastern Edge. If you haven’t seen that, watch it. It’s so good. So yeah I either bought it from SoHo Skates or Clifton Speed Center. I can’t remember which one, but that was my first video.

So this was the first video you ever saw?

No, the first video I probably ever saw was Future Primitive. My friend Victor had that. I remember going over to his house to try and watch it. I’d catch parts here and there, but I’d never sit down with him and fully watch it all the way through. Which is weird considering that’s what kids do. It’s almost like I would turn up at his house, he would be watching it when I’d walk in, he’d leave it on for a minute while he got ready to go, and then he’d turn it off and we’d go skating. I didn’t physically own it so I wasn’t in control of saying “sit the fuck back down, we’re watching this thing till the end”.

So NSA Houston was the first video you poured over.

Yes, the one I had control over the rewind button. This video introduced me to so many different vert pros. And tricks, And so much good music as well. The Ramones, The Misfits, Mercyful Fate, Psychedelic Furs, Cream. The music in it is just incredibly good. This is when I would have gotten to really hear all that stuff for the first time, around ’86.

So this is an NSA contest. Southwest Regional Championships and it’s a Brad Dorfman thing?

Apparently so. I thought this was an NSI production, but apparently you mentioned it’s Unreel # 1. Pretty impressive. This video was in conjunction with a shop out there called The Harmony Surf and Skate. The first song in the video, the introduction, is this band called El Grupo Sexo. They do this song called “Squirrel Boy”. It’s not the entire song, but its so good. Losi introduces the video and then the song kicks in.

I recently came across a live video of El Grupo Sexo doing that song. The song is ingrained in my head. I never knew who the band was up until very recently. I think they were from Orange County, known for dressing up in costumes and having a bunch of members and a horn section. They play a type of funk/punk type genre that could be described as somewhat Big Boys/Red Hot Chilli Peppers/Fishbone-esque. So rad they’re in there.

The comp takes place on the Kahuna ramp at the Skatepark of Houston.

Yes, the red one.

So this ramp was historically blue but it was red for this contest?

Yeah, as the story goes, the Kahuna was usually blue or grey, got painted red for this contest, went back to blue/grey for one or two more contests, and then The Hurricane got built. The rest of the comps then got held on the Hurricane.

And McGill wins this contest?

When I think back, I think Jeff Phillips or Tony Hawk won it, but I think you’re right, he does, which was a rarity for McGill.
 

John Gibson, Jeff Phillips and Mike McGill skating the Houston contest from Thrasher, June 1986
John Gibson, Jeff Phillips and Mike McGill skating the Houston contest from Thrasher, June 1986

 
This was when the McTwist was one ring to rule them all.

Yeah, you pretty much had had to do the McTwist to win. I think I spoke about this in an Instagram post, but the only person to ever beat Tony in a contest without doing a McTwist was Jeff Phillips. Which is interesting since we’re talking about Texas, considering Jeff was from Texas.

This would have been his local?

No this contest and park was in Houston. Jeff was from Dallas. Clown Ramp was his local. Actually Jeff beat Tony without doing a McTwist twice!

It’s the year after this contest he had the Thrasher cover?

He had his first Thrasher Cover in ’85, second one in ’87. So yeah, the year after the contest video I owned. The second cover is from when he beat Hawk in Anaheim. That contest was in ’86 as well. It’s interesting, because like I said, he beat Hawk twice, once in Anaheim and once at the next Houston SUAS contest. And like I said, he beat him both times without doing a McTwist. He was the only person to do that back then.

The real crazy thing is that Jeff was able to do McTwists! In fact he was one of the first 5 people to do them after McGill. I can go down a serious rabbit hole with the McTwist, but we’ll leave that for another conversation. Anyhow, both contests where he beat Hawk (without doing a McTwist) were featured in the same issue of Thrasher (March ’87)!!

I obviously read up on this, it’s not information stored in my head. But in this contest McGill won, then Tony got second and Jeff Phillips got third. Then Tony Magnusson is fourth and Gator took fifth.

Gator was a force to be reckoned with (no pun intended), if you ever watch any of his runs they are chock full of tricks. He has an insane McTwist, it’s compacted and it’s spun really fast. I would say the only other person with a crazier McTwist was Christian [Hosoi]. Hawk spun his fast too, But Christian went seriously high on his.

Tony Magnusson’s McTwist stood out for me watching this contest.

Yeah he has a high, slow spinning, and extended one. All his tricks are done slightly differently then everyone else. It almost seemed like he learned to skate vert on ramps with longer, slower transitions. Not necessarily higher ramps per se, just longer tranny’s. He’s an odd and interesting vert skater. He seemed kind of limited in versatility and trick selection, for instance, he didn’t do a lot of lip tricks. But he went seriously big on everything. I can only imagine sitting on the deck of a vert ramp watching him go head high was insanity.

The only person I think who packed a more dynamic head high air than TMag or Christian was Lester [Kasai]. Malba got up there too. So did Cab. But you watch Lester in some of those Del Mar and Upland contests and he’s going so incredibly high that it almost looks dangerous. On a side note about the McTwist, McGill’s McTwists are interesting. He does one in a 1985 practise session at Del Mar that is so incredibly fast and clean. And this is right after he invents them. Then it seems as the years go on, his McTwist’s get to the point where you almost weren’t sure if he was going to be able to do them consistently and clean anymor.

I’m sure there was a a lot of pressure on him as the inventor. Its like Reese Forbes having to win the Reese Forbe’s High Ollie Contest. Mike would land a lot of his McTwist’s later on with his hands down or squatted out on the flat bottom. Still a make per se, but getting a super clean McGill McTwist became rarer and rarer as the years went on. It was obviously always great to see him do them, and in no way am I criticising or naysaying. I love McGill. He singlehandedly changed skateboarding. But as time went on, other people had more consistent and more cleaner ones, Gator being one of them. Again, Christian’s were head high. Complete insanity.

Lance Mountain in this contest does back to back ones, two in a row.

Yeah Lance would do that every now and again. Lance would also do McTwists up on extensions. Wild! Vert ramps are scary. Extensions are scarier.

It’s interesting that a big influence on your early skateboarding is a vert contest video.

I know. if you’re familiar with my skating, I guess you would associate it with an obviously more “varied” terrain. Street obviously. Then if you look at what my first video was and notice that all the skating is contained to this one ramp, with just a channel in it, it kinda makes no sense. But that’s the beauty of street. And skateboarding in general. Complete opposite of what I, and thousands of others, went on to do. When you don’t have access to a vert ramp, everything becomes that vert ramp. It forces you to project out onto the environment that which you do have available to you. So when I step outside and I don’t have that vert ramp with the channel, I’m interpreting anything in front of me as that vert ramp and the channel. That said, that video wasn’t the only influence. Future Primitive was right there alongside it.

 

But that’s the beauty of street, and skateboarding in general…When you don’t have access to a vert ramp, everything becomes that vert ramp. It forces you to project out onto the environment that which you do have available to you

 

Two things stood out for me watching this. One was how much of a beast Hosoi’s board is compared to anyone else. Just operating on something different plus space on the nose.

The Hammerhead. I remember his set up. It really reminds me of some Mark [Gonzales]’s recent footage on some of those crazy boards. Bigger, wider, longer. And you can definitely notice the contours of the shape.

The other stand out was Monty Nolder’s insane backside boneless.

So good! Love Monty Nolder. Best pogos. Him and Craig Johnson’s. John Gibson has some pretty wild runs in that video too. I mentioned this before, but right out of the gates you have Dan Wilkes skating to Cream, ‘Strange Brew’. It’s so magical to me because of not only the song, but his bag of tricks as well. Lien Plant into an Ice plant to fakie. So good. And you only got to see it for like a second. And to Strange Brew!! What a mystery maker. Set to that music, it was just like “what did I just see and hear?” I have to mention for the record here, while we’re talking about vert skating and the backside boneless, have you seen Bucky Lasek’s switch backside boneless??! Everyone needs to check that out, it’s insanity.

Did you ever dabble on a vert ramp?

Almost never. I never had pads or access to a vert ramp. I went to a park recently with a smaller vert ramp, maybe it’s 9 ft. that goes to vert. My body just doesn’t want to stand up on vert. It’s very frightening to me.
 


 
 

'Odd Man Out' - Odd Man Out (1988)

Odd Man Out‘ – Odd Man Out (1988)

 

You picked this album from 1988. Is it something you regularly revisit, or one which is on your mind right now?

Well obviously Cab [Steve Caballero] comes out of The Faction. I became aware of Odd Man Out because Cab stopped wearing Faction gear and started rocking Odd Man Out shirts. Maybe a sticker on his board here and there. I think there were also ads in Thrasher. You could tell just by the name and logo, Odd Man Out was going to be more mature musically. I remember being intrigued by the band’s name and logo.

That said, having access to music “pre-Youtube” was a whole ordeal. You had to depend on a record store having the physical record. I didn’t get to listen to that entire record until maybe ten years ago. Quite possibly a mortal sin. It was similar to finding out who El Grupo Sexo was, even though I knew who Odd Man Out was. When this record was out, I was already into The Cult. It seems like Cab was fairly influenced by them and another band called The Mission. They’re both this very sticky, gothy, rock genre. It’s a genre of music I always liked. When I finally got to sit down and fully listen to that Odd Man Out record it was just an incredible listen all the way through. I was familiar with some of the songs as I had gotten to hear some of it over the years. It’s very “skate friendly” music. There are some people out there who if they aren’t completely enamoured by Cab’s whole skate pedigree, they might kind of balk at Odd Man Out because it’s not fully punk.

 

When I finally got to sit down and fully listen to that Odd Man Out record it was just an incredible listen all the way through

 

Odd Man Out is not for everyone, especially if you’re expecting a Faction record. If you are into The Cult, The Mission, The Chameleons, Bauhaus or say, The March Violets, this record is good. Those are comparisons some people might argue are slightly too derivative, but personally I think it’s an incredibly sculpted record. It seems like Cab may have been influenced by what Chuck Treece was doing at the time as well. For instance, Cab and McGill’s song in Ban This is incredible. But yeah, I listen to this record often. It’s also great to revisit.

Am I right that there’s a track on Public Domain and in a Savannah Slamma?

You know, I can’t exactly remember which Powell video or Savannah vid, but I think you’re right.Maybe the first one? The second had all that Casio Keyboard music and three had a very SST heavy soundtrack. But if it is in there, that’s where I would have been first exposed to it. But speaking of Savannah Slamma, and revisiting all that stuff, 1 and 3 have incredible sound tracks. Gonz skating to Drunk Injuns is amazing in the first one. I watched all three Savannah Slamma’s recently. I fully forgot that fIREHOSE’s “Under the Influence of the Meat Puppets” is in 3. Such a great song and great band. I wish fIREHOSE would get back together, tour, and make another record. I really love them. It’s great to know a song, hear it years later and realise that’s why you know it. There’s some Joe Wood era T.S.O.L. tracks that are like that for me.

It’s interesting that a lot of bands by association get lumped into and defined as skate rock. Where you could assume they pull from the same influences. This Odd Man Out record sounds, for want of a better word, more evolved.

Evolved, yes exactly. Like I said, it’s not The Faction. Kind of like the difference between listening to Minor Threat and Fugazi. Matured and musically more sophisticated than what The Faction made. Not that The Faction is not great. They’re amongst my favourites as well. Another example could be Adolescents to Christian Death with Rikk Agnew. You can hear Agnew’s influence on/in both bands. But his song structure and “genre” had changed a bit from Adolescents to Christian Death. Both bands are incredible.

It sounds a little bit like The Cure.

Yeah, there’s a little of that in there as well. A little melancholy and ‘reflective” at times.

I went digging for Odd Man Out stuff when I knew we were going to be talking and I found a listing for a gig in Longbeach from 1988. It’s Gang Green, Bad Religion, Goo Goo Dolls, Odd Man Out, Drunk Injuns and Neil Blender’s band Worked World, with M.C. Skatemaster Tate…
 

 
Wow! That’s insane. Dream show. The only band I never got into on that bill was Bad Religion. Although Brian Baker was in Bad Religion and he came out of Minor Threat. Granted he was in Bad Religion much later. Minor Threat is another one of my favourites and early inspirations musically. I never liked Greg Graffin’s voice or Bad Religion’s song structures. Maybe if Ian sang on some of that stuff I would have been more into it. That would be an interesting project. Have Ian sing all the songs on say Recipe for Hate and see if I like it. Greg Hetson was also in Bad Religion and I love The Circle Jerks. One of the first records I ever bought was Wonderful. Great record.

Do you have any of Neil Blender’s records?

He was in Olivelawn with O (Otis Barthoulameu) for a second, he played on one record with O, then O went on to form Fluf. Yes I have that Olivelawn 7” which Neil is on. Pretty cool. On a sidenote, Olivelawn have a song in the Plan B Questionable video on the mini ramp part, the song is called ‘College Volume Pedal’. So good. I should also mention that after Odd Man Out, Cab was in a band called Shovelhead, and another band called Soda. I wasn’t super into that stuff, but the Odd Man Out record is great.

The Shovelhead stuff is another evolution that’s on the timeline with Grunge breaking out.

Yeah and I think a lot of people had to kind of conform to that sound after Nirvana. It was almost like conform or fall off if you were trying to “make it in the biz”. Also at that point the music industry and MTV were all starting to morph into this machine. No video, that’s it you’re commercially done. Sort of.

Steve Caballero’s music history spans some time.

Yeah and the other people it involves is interesting. The bassist for Odd Man Out, Ray Stevens II, was also the bassist for Drunk Injuns and The Faction, a common thread. Also Mofo was the singer for the Drunk Injuns, another connection. Gavin O’Brien, Corey O’Brien’s brother, was the lead singer for The Faction. They recently did their final shows, and now I’m thinking to myself if The Faction’s done then we need to get Odd Man Out back together and have them play. What I would love to see, in terms of that dream show flyer you mentioned, would be for fIREHOSE to come back and play a show with Claus Grabke’s band Eight Dayz. Full Natas kit. Anyhow, like I said, all the fIREHOSE stuff is incredible. I was able to buy all of those albums at the time. I had them all on vinyl. It was in the moment. But in 1988, if I was buying records, I was unable to find an Odd Man Out record. The fIREHOSE stuff was all better distributed and more accessible. SST and Columbia.

 


 
 

'A Secret History Of The Ollie - Craig Snyder (2015)

A Secret History Of The Ollie – Craig Snyder (2015)

 

I could only find super expensive options for this but I’ll keep searching. Tell us about this book…

I came across this book online first. Maybe even on IG. Then a year and a half ago I went down to Florida because my brother lives down there. In West Palm. There is a surfing museum down there and me, my mother and my brother kind of stumbled into the museum. We went in and they had a bunch of skateboards in there so I started talking to one of the dudes there about the boards. One thing lead to another and he shows me the book with his picture in it. Trip out.

My mother gets obsessed about birthdays and the reason we were down there is because my brother and I both celebrate our birthdays a few days apart. Anyhow she asked me if I wanted the book. She was like “do you want that?” And I was like “Hell yes I want this!” But It was expensive. She hadn’t purchased me a birthday gift from the year before so she got me that out there. I brought it home and it sat on my desk for a little while before I started reading it. It’s an insanely detailed account of the movements of Alan Gelfand and his early crew leading up to the ollie. It’s such an incredibly well researched and well written book. It also coincided with some of the stuff I was getting into at the time in terms of late 70’s skate stuff.

When I was growing up all of the big concrete parks in Southern California were long closed. Winchester, Big O, Oasis, Whittier, and all the rest of the ones you hear about now. The only two remaining ones were Del Mar and Pipeline. Of course Kona was still there, but that’s in Florida. This book chronicles a lot of California hybrid history as well, but done from the perspective of a Floridian.

What’s crazy about Florida in terms of the trajectory of trick development and just skateboarding in general, is that even with what we were talking about earlier with the McTwist, Mike McGill comes out of Florida. Rodney Mullen comes out of Florida as well. So does Alan Gelfand. So right there you have the ollie, basically every flat ground to ever be invented, and the McTwist, all with their birthplace in Florida(sorta). So it’s a place that plays an incredibly important role in the history of skateboarding, let alone trick development.
 

Mike McGill comes out of Florida. Rodney Mullen comes out of Florida as well. So does Alan Gelfand. So right there you have the ollie, basically every flat ground trick to ever be invented, and the McTwist

 
Without any media attention.

Virtually none. There’s one or two guy’s who made it out to California pre-McGill and pre-Alan Gelfand, but until you get to those two making their way out to California, with Stacy [Peralta] having picked them out of Florida, Florida isn’t really on the map. Mike Folmer’s one of the bigger names that is pre-Gelfand. But it’s really when Gelfand and McGill turn up on the scene that Florida gets some attention. Those two are also immediately absorbed into that Bones Brigade/Powell machine. Gelfand getting absorbed first, so their exact place of origin becomes a little bit obscured. Obviously I wasn’t there so this is just my assumption. Maybe back then it was well known they were from Florida. But by ’88, I had no clue.

Stacy seemed to be really good at focusing attention on the larger machine, The Brigade, rather than single players. I’m sure if we were asked in 1988 where Mike McGill came from, I wouldn’t know. A lot of us would probably think he was from California. That’s where you thought all skateboarders were from back then. Then you find out that Rodney Mullen is from Florida as well. He’s another one that you would probably think was from California as well. Freestyle wonder child? It’s totally interesting. I hear McGill is actually born in Brooklyn and lived in Long Island till he was 10 or so, Gelfand too.

The West coast plays the central part of the narrative.

Yeah. That’s where the action is. John Grigley, Monty Nolder, and Paul Schmitt are also all from Florida. Three heavyweights right there. The only guys you really knew were from somewhere other than California were the Texans because they were so loud and prideful with it.

Does Craig Snyder do a good job of romanticising the physics of it?

He really does. He does a good job of describing the home turf which revolves around these two parks. One I believe is called…

Sensation Basin?

Sensation Basin was in Gainesville. The two that he really talks about are Skateboard City and Skateboard USA. He walks you through the way that Skateboard USA was designed. Based on the design of the park, you start to have folks who are able to use the design to basically “invent” tricks. He’s basically saying that because of these unique design elements, the park produces, or “inspires” these types of tricks. One of the things he really outlines is that at the time everybody rode these really loose trucks. When talking about the development of the ollie, he mentions that Gelfand rode his trucks bolted down to the bushings. He mentions they were so tight and that was a crucial part in the development of his approach to the ollie. The lip slide plays a part in it also.

It also has a bunch of product photos throughout to back it all up too?

Yeah it’s very similar to the way that Skateboarding Is Not A Fashion is laid out, there are a lot of photographs in there. A whole history of skateparks. It’s a great book.

One that anyone who skates needs to read?

One that if you have any interest in the history of skateboarding you should read. Another book that’s incredible in terms of history is The Answer Is Never which was written by Jocko Weyland. That’s a great one too. That book would be the equivalent of if you had @thepastparticiple in book form. Skateboarding through the lens of an everyman skateboarder, in terms of not being a pro or a sponsored am. Jocko Weyland put it together beautifully.

While finding out about this book I also read there was an ollie origin which pre-dates Gelfand or is happening simultaneously? I mention this more to entice than as a spoiler…

Yeah a lot of stuff is happening simultaneously, you’d have to reference the book because I can’t regurgitate it, but that is definitely interesting. It seems that’s always the case with everything, whether it’s Rock ’n Roll, tennis, whatever. You know what’s amazing, is where the term ollie comes from.

Ollie Pop…

Yeah the ollie pop, it has a few different things and one of them revolves around this restaurant. Like I said you have to read the book. It’s all in there.

I saw there is a further 80s instalment of the book to follow too.

Yeah this is one is titled “Volume 1” and from here the next chapter will probably focus on Rodney. I posted a picture on my Instagram of Rodney doing an invert on a bank at one of those Florida parks, maybe Sensation. The bank had a little bit of transition but he’s doing an invert on a bank on a freestyle board, the equivalent though of rolling up the bank at Southbank and launching into a fully inverted invert.

 


 
 

Dead Space - Jean Labourdette and Marielle Quesney (2004)

Dead Space – Jean Labourdette and Marielle Quesney (2004)

 

How did you come across this documentary?

This one came about through my interest in underground spaces as well as a general interest in the catacombs in Paris. I took the tour the city offers there. I never got the chance to go on my own outside of the controlled tour that’s offered, but I stumbled across the doc on the internet and just really enjoyed it. It’s a super interesting glimpse into not only the graffiti world and this guy PSY’s world, but also his obsession with mapping out the entire space. Also what he was doing down there in terms of building art and catching tags within the system. It’s amazing.

His desire to preserve tags and the history of the space too.

Totally, it gets a little heartbreaking when you get into the concept of getting lost or having some kind of tragedy happen down there, where say your light goes out or something. That’s kind of unimaginable in terms of how frightening it is, but when PSY talks about the city filling in those spaces with cement it gets a little hearbreaking. Also the collapsing parts of the tunnels. That’s like Baldy collapsing to a skateboarder, you know what I’m saying? You’re not going to be able to get that stuff back.

What’s interesting right now is something like the old The Turf Skatepark in Greenfield. That place was buried and there’s a genuine effort from the city and the citizens of that area to excavate and revive it so to speak. But with something like the catacombs there won’t be that kind of effort because it’s perceived as a dangerous place. And I suppose it could be. It’s basically a whole other city underneath a city with no “oversight”.

Which does have small collapses intermittently and is deemed a nuisance.

Right and once it’s gone, and I’m sure it will take a lot of effort for it to be totally “gone” because it’s such a large space. But once it’s gone, even one part of it, that part will become a place of legend that you will never get back.

A large part of it is quarry tunnels and then the city before the city.

Yeah. I often struggle with the idea of places like Del Mar or the Pipeline being gone. Even if you were to re-build those parks, they would still be re-built as the new one is not the original park. If you ever hear the locals talk about the kinks in the Keyhole, you hear them describe how unique it was. If it was rebuilt, even if it was in the same space, you’re not going to get that exact experience back which was the experience of the original park. When you get into the mindset of architectural preservation, it’s so important to preserve these spaces because if you rebuild it, it’s not going to be the same thing.
 

When you get into the mindset of architectural preservation, it’s so important to preserve these spaces because if you rebuild it, it’s not going to be the same thing

 
Agreed. I think a many people could watch this documentary and discount it as the ramblings of a crazed graffiti artist or however they may perceive PSY. Which is why it’s amazing having Henry Chalfant backing it up and saying how culturally important it is too.

Right, but even when you get Henry Chalfant speaking in terms of art historians, or photographers, or preservationists, the majority of people are not even going to know who he is. What he famously documented at the time with Subway Art and Style Wars was a nuisance art form back then. The graffiti art in the New York subway system was frowned upon by a lot of people. It’s super interesting stuff.

And Paris have their version of the NY Vandal squad but tasked with arresting Cataphiles as well.

Yeah and another thing of interest too which Chris @same0ld recently introduced me to is the soccer clubs in Britain in the 80s. The fan part element.

Like hooliganism and football firms?

Yes, Hooliganism. And they would leave those calling cards. After you got beat up by them they would leave a little calling card in your pocket that said something like “you’ve just been dealt with by so and so…”

The Headhunters etc…

Yes exactly. In Paris the Cataphiles would have different groups of people who would leave their little calling cards around to communicate things as well. This crew wants to beat up this guy, or stay out of this section of the tunnel system. All done through paper cards. The film touches on a lot of interesting stuff. Catacomb “culture” and “politics”.

Years ago a guy came into Slam and he was asking to try on kneepads. I was trying to figure out his deal and if he skated, why he wanted them. He was a much older, wiry guy who was dressed pretty respectably. I asked him why he needed them and he said he’d taken a couple of weeks off and was visiting a friend to ‘go catacombing’ in Paris.

No way! That’s amazing! One of my favourite Slam stories Seth [Curtis] told me was the one about Morrissey coming into the shop…

Yeah that’s a great one. It was Fos who clocked him. He was leaving Rough Trade through Slam and no-one had noticed him or who he was. Fos was by the door. As Morrissey was leaving Fos said “Hello sir how are you?”…

…and his reply was “Average.” Hahaha! That’s the best response ever. So good!! Classic Moz.

 


 

Thanks for that array of avenues to explore Bobby. Now just a few questions to catch up with where you’re at right now. How has lockdown been affecting your movements?

The thing that’s really affected my movements at the moment is the cold weather and that it’s recently snowed a bunch. That’s only just starting to melt, so that’s been affecting me. But in terms of everything else, I didn’t “lock down” per se. I just went about my business. There’s been little “socialising”, but other than that it’s been fairly normal for me.

It is depressing seeing the state of commercial activity. A lot of shops have closed. It sucks having people be suspicious of you too. Not being able to shake someones hand because they suspect you may have a deadly transmittable virus? And you’re not even sick?? This whole thing has plunged society into a dark period in terms of interaction and general human-ness.

The other side of it should reignite the flames of humanity.

Yeah but should that have to happen? It’s kind of fucked up thinking that. Should it take being plunged into the dark ages in order to appreciate what you’ve got? Maybe so. But that is the way things go I guess. Certain things are reignited because of circumstance.

It was sick to see the Backyard Barge thing you did.

Oh yeah cool, glad you liked it.
 

 
That must have been a trip, do you have more Same Old projects lined up?

Yes. But again, getting into the realm of travel and social interactions right now, things are kinda odd. Those people at Tom Groholski’s old house were gracious enough to invite me into their house and backyard, and we were socially distanced, but at first it was a little weird figuring out. It was an interesting experience. Obviously I would have liked to have had Tom there. At the same time, when I did the Lance [Mountain] one, I had originally wanted to bring Lance with me. I asked him if he wanted to go and he declined because it was too, not necessarily painful but just something he didn’t need to do at that time.

The Lance Mountain one was even crazier because that woman who lived there, she didn’t even open the door at first. She was behind the closed door speaking to us and seemed wary of the whole thing from the get-go. And you know what, I would have been too! The crazy thing is that was all pre-Covid. That’s what I was saying in terms of mistrust. There was already so much of it pre-Covid. Now, as you get into post-Covid mindset, it’s like “don’t fucking come near me”. So sad.

It’s amazing they showed you everything.

Yeah the guy at Groholski’s house was a big fan of Revelation Records. He was also a big fan of Metallica. Tom [Groholski]’s sister is married to Squindo who did some of the art for Metallica’s stuff later on. So he was super hyped on that. Him and his wife also knew the history of the house. She actually knew a lot more it seemed like, but they had totally researched the house and knew about that stuff. But man it was great, he pointed out and preserved that Vision sticker and the bolts where the ramp was attached to the side of the garage. So crazy to see. He was also enamoured by the fact that Chuck Treece, who had the cover of the mag at the house, was in Underdog. Underdog contained members of Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand and Youth Of Today so there was a big music connection there.

The Revelation Records link.

Yeah. And what’s funny is that when you get into Chuck Treece, then you go right back into Powell and Ray [Barbee] and the whole McRad thing. You mentioned Suregrip stickers when we spoke before off record, and Chuck had his own Suregrip ‘McShred!’ sticker. So good.

We got to see Tommy Guerrero play with Chuck Treece in London a couple of years ago and it was sick.

Were Ray Barbee and Matt Rodriguez there?

Ray Barbee wasn’t there but Matt Rodriguez was.

Sick, they are such a dynamic band. Do you know Tommy’s old band Free Beer? That was Tommy, his brother, and Shrewgy on vocals. He was the old team manager for Spit and Thunder.

Nice. I enjoyed seeing The Wriders Project interview crop up this morning. It’s good to read about that facet of your world view.

Yeah and I just recently posted another interview on my Instagram today which is a podcast I did a few days ago with Artform. That has some interesting nuggets in there as well. So if you have an hour or so to kill then listen to that one. It’s interesting.

I remember going to the bathroom before baggage collection on my first ever trip to BCN and there was a DEVS outline in the stall with the dollar sign. Which is my first memory of that whole holiday.

At the airport? Oh my god! That would have gotten me extradited back to the United States in a heartbeat if I got caught defacing the airport.

It’s funny that those things really register in your brain.

Graffiti is so dumb, but it’s so great at the same time.

Since we did that interview a few years back have you figured out moves towards a show or a collection?

Amazingly I have a show up in NY at the moment. I was offered a show by Rich Jacobs who is an artist and a curator, all round great guy. He has probably got the one of the most comprehensive collections of skateboard zines from the 80s. He’s a collector, music aficionado, musician, record collector, show flyer collector, and all round renaissance man. He partnered with a guy called Oliver Harkness who owns and operates an amazing vintage clothing store in Manhattan called Quality Mending. Oliver consolidated his old spaces and has a new one on Bowery that’s part gallery/part vintage clothing store. I too collect clothing/vintage clothing and just stuff in general [(@dopestalker), so it was a no brainer for me. The new space is at 329 Bowery and the show is up until March 28th.

 

 
When the Pandemic happened, my show that was scheduled at 98 Orchard was swept up in the wave of cancellations and shut downs. You couldn’t have people in spaces at the time, large gatherings and the rest of it. I got my pieces back from the gallery and put them in storage. The Bowery space is smaller than the Orchard space, so I was able to take part of the show and exhibit it in the Bowery space that these guys are operating. We gathered it out of storage, put the show up and it’s a whirlwind show. I’m excited. Book your ticket on Concord and come out!

I’m on it. Is skateboarding factoring in much right now?

Yeah, I mean it’s cold and a bit snow covered still, which affects that. I was taking a little while off because my hip was giving me problems after I fell on it and then the cold weather hit. I’m holding tight and looking forward to spring. I still push to the coffee shop every day and ride my bike. But in terms of how I was in say November, it’s slowed down. Which happens every year at this time. Usually I would go to LA and do that whole thing, but I’ve been concentrating on my Instagram as a bit of a branding/advertising tool for the TIM&VIC stuff as well as my art stuff over at @Gutter_Gallery. And then just taking it as it comes for the moment.

Words of wisdom to other members of our community trying to navigate the new abnormal?

Please, Don’t Do It.
 


 

Many thanks to Bobby for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview. We look forward to more of Bobby Puleo escapades with Same Old soon. If you are in New York before March 28th then be sure to go and check out his Flat Earth show. Thank you also to @scienceversuslife for the Thrasher scans

Previous ‘Offerings’: Ray Barbee, Zach Riley, Casper Brooker, Ryan Lay